Call me old fashioned, but I think a town should pick one name and stick with it.
Naples City Councilman Gary Price’s suggestion that Naples change its name to Naples on the Gulf is no doubt well-intentioned, but the arguments against it are many.
The city, not to mention every business and resident in it, would have to reorder stationery. Atlases and maps the world over would have to be burned in favor of updated versions. This very publication would have to change its name. Naples on the Gulf Daily News just won’t fit on a masthead.
Plus there’s just something inherently wrong about a city with a bunch of words in its name. One should be plenty. Dallas, Atlanta, Miami.
Sure, there are cities with two-word names. New York, Fort Myers, St. Petersburg. But the words are confined to nouns and adjectives.
When you start adding prepositions and articles to a city name, you’re asking for trouble.
The Hague. What kind of name is that for a city? Sounds like a European punk rock band. “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night! Tonight’s host is Colin Farrell, with musical guest, The Hague!”
Stratford Upon Avon. Scroll down the U of F football roster. You won’t seen any linebackers hailing from Stratford Upon Avon.
Britain is home to some great, and by great I mean terrible, examples of what happens when you start telling a story with a town’s name. There’s Barton in the Beans, Frisby-on-the-Wreake and Weston-under-Lizard to name a few.
Price reasons that the name change would establish Naples as the coastal community that it is, delineating it from the rest of urban Collier County, which tends to get lumped in with the city proper in the minds of everyone not intimately familiar with the exact configuration of the corporation limits.
But Mayor Bill Barnett has it right. Naples is a concept that encompasses more than just mansions and luxury condos along the beach. It also encompasses mansions and luxury condos in Pelican Bay and Bay Colony.
Naples on the Gulf, at 18 characters counting the spaces, is just too long for a city name. Granted, it’s not as bad as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, an actual town in Wales, but then again, when was the last time someone from Ohio took a family vacation in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?
Naples on the Gulf could create more problems than it solves for the city.
You may or may not know that Lauderdale by the Sea is a town four miles north of Fort Lauderdale. The person who asks, “So, you live in Naples on the Gulf. How far is that from Naples?” may or may not know it too.
Name changes don’t always work out for a city.
In 1950 the town of Hot Springs, N.M., changed its name to Truth or Consequences, N.M., to mark the 10-year anniversary of Ralph Edwards’ radio show by the same title. The radio show lasted another seven years. The town is stuck with the name to this day, leaving Hot Springs, Ark., with a near monopoly on ribald honeymoon humor. Every time newlyweds drive off with, “Destination: Hot Springs,” scrawled on their car in washable paint, it’s free publicity for Arkansas.
By the way, Edwards gave way as host of “Truth or Consequences” to Bob Barker who later hosted “The Price is Right.”
Hmmmm. Gary Price is proposing the name change. Price is Right. Coincidence?
But giving the councilman the benefit of the doubt, I’ll reconsider the propriety or renaming what is properly known as City of Naples.
My vote is for ...(drum roll)... Naples. What’s yours?
Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten